With the third overall pick, the Panthers choose Windsor defenseman Cam Fowler.
It's exceptionally easy to lump all of Florida's needs into a simple generalization along the line of "everything". While that may be utterly true - where the club stands pre-draft and the trades that inevitably shadow this franchise at said point - the arrival of GM Dale Tallon thankfully takes the argument further into "building for the next five years" territory rather than the recent "building for the next five months" scheme (implemented for a dizzying array of reasons) we've all grown accustomed to from our friends in Sunrise.
While scoring is/was/will indeed be the number one priority for the Panthers going into the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, landing either of the top two prospects will require a truly Biblical outlay of assets on the part of Tallon's Cats. Of course the possibility exists - however remote - that Florida is so ridiculously head-over-heels for Seguin or Hall that a bountiful deal could be consummated. But don't lose sleep over it; chances are extraordinarily high that a defenseman will be pulling a Panthers sweater over his head at the third slot.
That being the case, and given their need for increased scoring, Windsor's Cam Fowler
is the obvious choice when placed against Kingston's Erik Gudbranson . While both will likely develop into well-above-grade defensemen with lengthy careers, Florida's desire for scoring will necessitate Fowler, who tallied 55 points in an equal number of games in his first (and predictably last) season with the Spitfires. Throw in an additional 14 points in 19 playoff games, plus three previous years in the U.S. National Under-18 team and the decision to side with Fowler benefits the Panthers - today and down the road - above anyone not ranked within the top two.
Be sure to head over to SBN's Mock Draft HQ as the picks progress...